Both Amazon and Hachette have authors on their sides.
It’s no secret that times have been tough for both authors and traditional publishers since the advent of Amazon. Recently, the conflict has received renewed attention because of the lengthy court battle with publisher Hachette Book Group. The Seattle-based online retailer is pushing for lower ebook prices, but due to the lack of agreement from Hachette, the court proceedings have been going on for months.
J. K. Rowling was among the 900 authors, who stepped up against Amazon.
This past Friday, August 8, the publisher lauched a grassroots move against Hachette , the online retailer called on its authors to email Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch directly, giving out his email and outlining talking points for the email activists to use.
According to the Wall Street Journal, some of the talking points included: "Stop using [Hachette] authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon's offers to take them out of the middle" and "E-books can and should be less expensive."
Following Amazon’s move, a group of bestselling authors are making a move of their own. The A-team of authors, including J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, Douglas Preston and more than 900 others have taken out a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The New York Times and urge Amazon “in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business.”
The full-page ad cost the authors (acting on their own behalf and not at the behest of Hachette or any other publisher) $104,000. The authors were prompted by the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Hachette, as well as the company’s overall treatment of its authors. "Many of us have supported Amazon since it was a struggling start-up. We have made Amazon many millions of dollars and over the years. This is no way to treat a business partner. Nor is it the right way to treat your friends," the group shared.
Stephen King was another author at the head of the effort.
The increasingly bitter and strenuous debate between Hachette and Amazon has been going on since May. During negotiations Amazon has used some draconian measures to get Hachette to agree to their terms, such as slowing delivery of some Hachette books, removing the preorder button on others and reducing the discount it offers on some titles.
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